The Spectacle Blog

Iraq, the Port Deal and Is Anybody Home?

By on 2.24.06 | 6:06PM

Well, we've had a busy week, haven't we? One of Shia Islam's principal shrines has been blown up, a port operator from an Islamic nation is about to take control of six American ports, the Philippines is in a state of emergency and -- surprise, surprise -- Hamas is going to get buckets of money for its terrorist government. With all this going on, you'd think that ol' Dubai Dubya would say something about them in his weekly radio address tomorrow, right? But nooooo.

I can assure you, your expectations will remain unfulfilled. Can't say what's in the embargoed release, but I can assure you of what isn't: ports, Iraq and pretty much everything that's important. The wartime leader we saw ever so briefly last fall has again benched himself. This is not a matter of going wobbly: it's the functional equivalent of abdication.

Standing With The Danes

By on 2.24.06 | 5:31PM

Nice turnout for the Danish Solidarity rally today, including two of your AmSpecBlog correspondents, James Poulos and myself. Christopher Hitchens was there, of course, along with Andrew Sullivan, Bill Kristol, Cliff May, Tony Blankley, and occasional TAS contributor Sean Higgins. Afterwards James and I joined Andrew, Hitch, and Richard Miniter (plus the female companions of the latter two) for a long lunch, during which I learned how far people had come for the event: One woman drove up from North Carolina, and an Iraq War veteran came in from California.

Pictures here, here, here, and here (plus video at that last link).

Thrills in Pierre, S.D.

By on 2.24.06 | 4:13PM

From the state capital that is only served by two-lane highways (imagine the legislative implications of that!), a Republican state legislature and governor are about to put their money where their mouths are on Roe and ban abortion except in cases where it's necessary to save the mother's life. It's great news, and the legislators and governor should be commended for their courage.

Bush Address: “Ports, What Ports?”

By on 2.24.06 | 10:16AM

The Bush administration's PR failure in regard to the Dubai ports deal has reached a new height. The President just finished a major address to the American Legion this morning on the global war on terror. With such a stage and wide media coverage, that would have been a perfect setting to make his case a little. While one wouldn't expect a war on terror speech to go defensive on the ports deal, Bush had a golden opportunity to say something positive about UAE's role in the effort and go on the offense against the critics. But not a word about the subject on everyone's mind. Returning to the regular war on terror nostrums is admirable, and something the President should regularly do anyway. But wishing that something isn't a crisis doesn't make it so.

Bush Address: ‘Their Hearts Burn for Freedom’

By on 2.24.06 | 9:35AM

Get them some Maalox!

Rockefeller Feeling the Heat?

By on 2.24.06 | 9:33AM

So Sen. Jay Rockefeller sent a letter to Amb. John Negroponte complaining about White House leaks to Bob Woodward.

Why would Rockefeller be so uptight? Perhaps because he senses the FBI is locking in some of his loyalists in the NSA and overseas prison leaks? Things are going to be getting interesting for a number of folks on Capitol Hill in the coming days.

More on the Ports

By on 2.24.06 | 6:33AM

Yesterday I linked to Jonah Goldberg's LA Times column, so I ought to note that Mickey Kaus, who's not quite buying the new nothing-to-worry-about line, thinks Goldberg got one of his facts wrong.

Meanwhile, Dubai Ports World has offered to delay the takeover.

Saudi Arabia Fears Iraq

By on 2.24.06 | 12:45AM

A fresh intelligence source identifies the paradoxical motives of Saudi Arabia with regard the turmoil in Iraq.

On one hand, the Saudi princes gain by having an American coalition stabilize Iraq and create a buffer of a unified, resolute, commercially sturdy nation of Sunnis and Shia to block the cunning advances of Tehran’s totalitarianism. The oil-soaked eastern side of Saudi Arabia is dominated by Shia Arabs just like the oil-soaked part of southern Iraq, and constructing a self-satisfied, aggrandized, Shia-dominated state in Iraq would seem to be the best answer to Persian (non-Arab) Iranian aggression.

Iran Attacks

By on 2.24.06 | 12:04AM

Best signals source points to the Samarra mosque bombing in Iraq as the launch operation of the Iranian counteroffensive. You will recall the retreat of Ahmadinejad some weeks back, out of sight for ten days while he participated in national exercises and war planning. First indications are that the war is now launched.

Rather than wait to be attacked by the US fleet and air, Iran has attacked -- using all available surrogates to damage and intimidate the US-led coalition that is driving the IAEA referral recommendation to the UN Security Council.

In Port Deal, Clinton Ships Passing in the Night?

By on 2.23.06 | 5:03PM

It appears that a number of people are already profiting from the sale of some operations management of U.S. ports. But it ain't the port guys.

Already, it has been established that former Sen. Bob Dole is, well, on the port dole. No surprise, then, that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is also apparently drawing a check (someone should ask her just when she began drawing a check on this deal, as it appears it was some time ago, according to some Senate sources we talked to this afternoon).

But most interesting is the gossip among some Democratic Senators, who can't figure out why their colleague, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is so hot and bothered by the port deal, since they believe her husband, the former president, was consulted and received fees for said consulting on the port management sale.

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